Before we get started. If any of my articles have a catchy title, you can bet your bottom dollar that I wasn’t the originator.  

In 21-22 years of writing outdoor articles, I don’t think that any newspaper and for sure no magazines have ever used one of my titles.  

And no doubt, the editors’ titles are always catchy and smoke whatever bland title I offered. I can only assume that all editors in the world are required to take at least 12 hours of classes on “How to come up with a catchy title”. I’m serious. I don’t know how they can whip out a world class title in the blink of an eye.

So, with all of that said, Katy came up with this week’s title. In fact, she even came up with this week’s topic. I was drawing a blank. I have a lot of topics I want to write about in the next few weeks/months but to be timely I need to wait 1-4 weeks on them. 

Attending Gun Shows, attending the Big Shows, Snowshoeing, Winter Camping, Making Turkey Stew, Varmint Hunting, Sandhill Crane Hunting, Winter Dove Hunting and the list goes on and on but for this week, the well was dry. 

At least until I consulted Katy! And I need to run this one this week so you can get prepared to implement some of these ideas Thanksgiving week.

So, let’s get started. I had the best mom & dad in the world. I thought we were rich until one day in high school I’d been over at a buddy’s home that lived in a big house. We’d been out running around and he pulled up to my house to drop me off and it hit me in the face. Wow, our house is small. I’d never realized that before.

But we had a mom & dad that loved us kids and spent their lives raising and training us and setting a good example for us and always made us go to Church twice on Sunday and once in the middle of the week. I had a happy family. Dad took us hunting and fishing all time with him so I have awesome memories as a kid.

So, this Thanksgiving week I’m going to encourage you to slow down and consciously make some golden family memories. Hopefully everyone reading this article has Thanksgiving Day off. 

But if not, hopefully sometime that week you can do something together as a family.

Everyone is on some kind of a budget so let’s start off with some low-cost adventures. If your kids are small, something as simple as raking leaves into a big pile and letting them run and jump in them provided for hours of entertainment when our kids were small. 

Our trees really started dumping leaves a week ago. Take pics of them jumping, buried in leaves or whatever else their young minds can dream up.

Taking the family up in the mountains sledding can also be fun. If the kids are small, put them in a sled and pull them up a trail. Kids love that. 

When they, or more likely you start getting tired build a fire and whip a pan or coffee pot out of your backpack and heat up a few cups of hot chocolate. And don’t forget the marshmallows or you’ll be toast. To make it a really memorable trip, throw in some S’mores!

Here’s one that we did just last winter, Katy, me, my youngest and her boyfriend. We were walking the dog in the park and then down a trail.

 There was a house that had a ton of apples falling on the ground. The occupants graciously agreed to let us pick all of the apples we wanted.

We made enough applesauce to last for a good while and sliced and froze enough apples to last us up until now. 

They’re great to whip out for a snack or a small bowl full to go along with a salad and dinner. Frozen they taste almost like popsicles. Then of course who doesn’t like apple crisp?

One of Katy’s teaching buddies gave us 40 lbs. of apples the other day and we made apple cider and applesauce. 

The applesauce is a by-product of the cider. Some hot apple cider on Thanksgiving morning would be a special treat.

And then of course nothing is more kicked back fun than to go out on the high desert plinking. 

You can throw a few clays, fill water bottles and blast them and watch them explode or the ole’ tried and true tin can.

If your kids are small, I’d suggest that you get them an airgun to plink with. When I was a kid there were only a handful of options. 

Now? Ha, I’m on Prostaff with Umarex and go on hunts with them, test their airguns etc. and I can’t even keep up with all of the cool guns that they offer. 

Much less all of the ones on the market. Airguns are quiet and don’t kick so they’re a great gateway to get kids into shooting and hunting.

We are out of room but one last deal. Save all of the bones and fat off of your Thanksgiving turkey and freeze them in a bag. As soon as I have a blank spot I’ll write an article on how to make the best turkey stew in the world. It’s awesome and yet super easy to make.

And lastly, don’t forget to take a moment at your Thanksgiving dinner to go around the table and everyone list one or two things they’re thankful for. Despite the current climate, we still live in the best country in the world.

Tom Claycomb is a hunting enthusiast and writes a bi-monthly column for Great Basin Sun.